Jackie Robinson made history when he became the first black baseball player to break into the major leagues by joining the Brooklyn Dodgers. Branch Rickey, owner of the Dodgers at that time, told Robinson, “It’ll be tough. You’re going to take abuse you never dreamed of. But if you’re willing to try, I’ll back you all the way.”
And Rickey was right. Jackie was abused verbally (not to mention physically by runners coming into second base). Racial slurs from the crowd and members of his own team, as well as from opponents, were standard fare.
One day, Robinson was having it particularly tough. He had booted two ground balls, and the boos were cascading over the diamond. In full view of thousands of spectators, Pee Wee Reese, the team captain and Dodger shortstop, walked over and put his arm around Jackie right in the middle of the game.
“That may have saved my career,” Robinson reflected later. “Pee Wee made me feel that I Belonged.”
Be sure that the employees on your team feel that they belong.